Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Madrid

After our day in Barcelona, we hopped on an overnight bus (note to self: NEVER do two overnight buses in a row) to Madrid. This isn't the best form of transportation but it is cheap, and it saves you both travel time and money for accommodations. We wanted to see more than one city since we had four full days in Spain, so we took advantage of the bus to hit Madrid for the day.

I really wish we had planned out things to do in Madrid, because the sights seemed limited and we ended up doing a lot of wandering. The one thing I wanted to see, the Prado museum, had a line wrapped around the building to rival the Louvre, so we opted to skip the Spanish masters this time around. 

But, we still saw a good chunk of the city, and I really liked Madrid. It is a lot sleepier than Barcelona, as it is the capital and not located near any partygoer-filled beaches. There is so much history in Spain and I wish I could explore it all. 


The Plaza de Cibeles. 



I have no idea what most of these buildings are, but the architecture in Madrid (and throughout Spain) was stunning. 




We accidentally stumbled upon what we thought was a police parade, and ended up following it all the way to the palace, where we caught a glimpse of (what I can only assume was) the Spanish royal family on their balcony!



The Royal Palace. 

Santa MarĂ­a la Real de La Almudena Cathedral, the seat of the Archdiocese of Madrid. The palace had a looong line (welcome to Europe), so we opted to climb the near-empty cathedral instead. 

The view of the palace from the cathedral, which sits just across the courtyard. 









This was the most colorful church I had ever been in! The outside looks like a traditional cathedral, but the inside is brightly colored with modern patterns and designs. Building began on the church in 1879, but, like so many things, was halted by the Spanish Civil War and did not begin again until 1950 (this is part of the reason Sagrada Familia has taken so long). The church was completed in 1993, when in consecrated by Pope John Paul II. 






After exploring the cathedral, we wandered down to Parque del Oeste, where the Temple of Debod is located. The temple is an Egyptian temple, built around the early second century BC. In 1960, when the Aswan Dam was being built, the temple was under threat of destruction, along with several other archaeological sites. UNESCO stepped in, and Spain was awarded the temple for having previously helped to save the temples of Abu Simbel. The temple was disassembled and reassembled in the park where it now stands. 


After the temple, and wanting to kill a few hours, we wandered over to the Buen Retiro Park, where we decided spur-of-the-moment to rent a row boat. Granted, the little pond isn't much, but the views and people watching were great. 


Plus, where else would you get this great shot of me attempting to row the boat (Tori was captain most of the time)? 


Our captain. 





After all that hard work of rowing, I figured I deserved a margarita!

That night we were back to Barcelona, where we hit a few last sights and the beach! To keep you entertained until then, you can always watch this again. 

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